Toro de lidia is:

A. The fattiest portion of the tuna, used for sushi and prized in Japan as a pairing to sake

B. A dish from the Piedmont region of Italy, composed of tuna and carpaccio of veal

C. The meat from a bull killed in a bullfight, eaten throughout most of Spain

D. A thick round cut of beef tenderloin, wrapped in boar bacon and grilled over a fire of used oak barrel staves in Argentinian asados


Toro de lidia is the meat of a bull raised for bullfighting. Bull meat stewed in red wine for several hours is a culinary specialty in the southern Spanish province of Andalusia. Historically, it was believed that eating the meat of a bullfighting bull would imbue the eater with the bull’s strength, courage, and virility. In much of central and southern Spain, cattle were used primarily for utility, pulling ploughs, or transport. In every herd there were some bulls, described as bravos, who were too aggressive for these purposes. Instead, they were sacrificed during bullfighting festivals, which the Spainish call corridas—or “runs” (the most famous being Pamplona’s annual running of the bulls which begins this Sunday, July 5)—culminating with the standoff between bull and matador. Once killed, some of the bull’s meat was given to the triumphant bullfighter, who would take the meat back to his hometown, where it would be made into a stew for the whole village, providing a rare opportunity for poor rural communities to eat beef. Currently, bullfighting is illegal in Catalonia and in the Canary Islands, although it remains well established in many parts of the rest of Spain. The fattiest, and most expensive portion of the tuna is known simply as toro or otoro and is prized because it literally melts in your mouth. The classic Italian dish of raw veal in a tuna sauce is called vitello tonnato. And thick round end pieces of beef tenderloin are called tournedos, the leanest cut of meat, which requires the extra flavor that the fatty bacon provides.

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